Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Mamadal and a Funny Story

Sometimes you think you hear something entirely different from what was actually said. Like song lyrics. 
You grow up thinking that Elton John really had a thing for Tony Danza when he sang "hold me close now Tony Danzaaaaaa", only to find out, while you're belting that out in front of your teenage friends that you're in fact, quite very, very wrong. Enter embarrassment.

For the record, this wasn't me, but Phoebe from Friends.

I did however, recently have my very own Phoebe moment...with this recipe.
See how I've spelled the title of this post? "Mamadal".  Sounds exotic, n'est pas? This could cozy right up with the word falafel and you'd be none the wiser.

Mamadal is something sacred to our family. My aunts and uncles, my siblings, my cousins. 

It's one of those nostalgic things my great grandma used to make, and she got the recipe when she befriended a woman in New Mexico, the owner of the hotel she was staying at. 

These hotel owners were an older couple who were very friendly and somewhat eccentric. I'm told that she walked around with her very fancy parrot on her shoulder most of the time.
They hit it off with my Great Grandparents, and apparently swapped some recipes, and Momo (as we call her) came home with some pretty authentic new Mexican recipes. 

Naturally, I grew up thinking that this mamadal business was something either Mexican or new Mexican, and that other people might have their own versions.
I'd never googled it or anything, in fact, I'd sort of forgotten about it.

Until last week.

Mom was over, and she looked at some canned goods on my counter that I hadn't put away yet from our last grocery run and said "oooh, looks like you have all the fixings for some Mamadal!"

I had forgotten completely about it and said "how do you make it again?"
Mom said it had been a while, and she could look it up when she got home.
"that's ok", I replied, "i'm sure I can google it."

Mom looked at me a little funny, confused, and said "what exactly are you going to google?"

"mamadal!" I said.

She laughed, and laughed some more. Now *I* was confused. 

"you're not going to find it by searching for that", she said.

"why not?"

"Mamadal was just what WE called it. We have no idea what it's really called."

me: "wait...what?"

The couple who owned the hotel, the husband always called the wife "Mama Doll". 

"Say WHAT?" 

Mom continued to explain that when Popo and Momo came back from new mexico, if Popo wanted this dish, he'd say "heya, can you make some of that 'Mama DOLL' ?"

Good gravy, I'd been tricked! We'd all been tricked!! For years! Or, maybe it's just me. Maybe the rest of the family completely knows. I suppose I should ask.

To be fair, i'd never seen the recipe card, so I hadn't paid attention to the spelling. It really did just sound like "mamadal". 

Regardless of the silliness behind this "dish", I'm going to give you the recipe, because it's amazing. And not healthy at all. This recipe will not fit into any diet plan, ever. I promise you. This is right up there with super bowl food.


Mama Doll

2 medium bags of plain Frito corn chips (i'm going to say medium because that's what we have here. Our frito bags are different sizes here in Canada than those in the USA, so for simplicity sake, i'm going to add that you'll probably need about 8 cups of crushed frito corn chips, if that helps any.)

2 small cans of green chilli peppers (hot or mild, your call. Jalapeños would also work.)

2 cups of cooked shredded chicken

2 cans of cream of chicken soup

2 cans of creamed corn

1 can of plain, cooked corn

1 cup chicken broth, or milk

2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese.


Preheat oven to 400

crush up one entire bag of fritos. Not super small, you still want some chunks. Pour these out into a 9x13 pan, evenly.

In a sauce pan, combine the cream of chicken, creamed corn, corn, green chillis  and broth, and heat to a soup temperature.
Remove from heat and pour half of this mixture onto the corn chips.

Add all the cooked shredded chicken on top of this.

Now add another layer, that second bag or remaining 4 cups of crushed fritos.

Pour the rest of the soup mixture on top of that.

Top with shredded cheddar cheese, cover with foil, and put it in the oven for 20 min. Then take off the foil and cook for an additional 10.

Give the doctor a call and schedule a check up in the near future. 


Variatiions: this is pretty simple food. I'd like to try it completely from scratch (maybe not the corn chips, but eliminate the cans of cream of chicken and try it with a roux. )

I also imagine that this would be really good with franks hot sauce!


  1. It's SO good to see you posting again! I hear you about the "Phoebe moment" - I've had a few of those too... That said, thanks for the recipe! My daughter will enjoy serving it at her "Bowl Game" party, and I might even try it!

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